Black Ink Goes Dark

Filipino komiks aficionados once again had a blast during the #SummerKomikon2018 last April 14, 2018. Komikon has been one of the longest-running local comic conventions. Komikon gives local artists the chance to showcase their works. Exhibitors like sellers, publishing houses that caters graphic novels, komiks enthusiasts and lovers of artworks also take part in this annual event.

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Every year, Komikon, Inc. organizes three events: Summer Komikon, Indieket, and the last quarter Komikon. #SummerKomikon2018 was held at Bayanihan Center Unilab Compound, Pasig City. Various publishing houses that caters local komiks were also invited to join the event. They were given the opportunity to announce their latest releases.

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One of the exhibitors, Black Ink—an imprint of Precious Pages that publishes Manga or Comics—goes dark in the recent Summer Komikon. Black Ink launched its latest releases: Black Rose and Blackout.

The two books sure defies the sunshine amidst summer season. Black Rose is written by Reira Francisco and illustrated by Mike Banting. This story is about Dante who has been maltreated by his father when he was young and his ‘friend’, Rose, who constantly inflict pain to those who have done him wrong. Another dark story to lighten up the summer is Blackout written by Jake Vicente and illustrated by MJSJ. This recounts the story of Bon and his distorted view of the world and of the people devoured by darkness.

Another book that was released on that day is the fourth volume of Librong Itim, an anthology of short Philippine horror stories that focuses on the theme Mysterious Message.

These latest Black Ink books are a mix of horror-mystery-psychological thriller meant for those into dark stories.

— Stefhanie Ann Yanes

 

 

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Learning How to Scare People—In Fiction

Writing isn’t easy—also a bit scary actually. Writers have to weave every element accordingly; from the characters to conflict to plot that the readers will be left in awe. The goal of every fiction is to satisfy every reader’s peculiar need—to love, to be loved, to hate and to be hated, to scare and be scared. If you aim to make the readers fall in love, write the most romantic plot. If you want to scare your readers—

Well, writing a short horror story is another story. And it is not as easy as it seems just because it is a “short” story. Establishing effective characters and scenes in a horror story is not as easy as shrieking away a cockroach. Well, yeah… a little cockroach surely evokes fear even on some men but an effective horror short story should not just stir a there’s-a-cockroach-on-the-wall kind of fear. An effective horror story would leave a reader breathless, with goose bumps and a blood rush.

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“If Romance will make you feel in love and happy Horror should make you feel afraid or even bothered.”

It takes courage and talent, and of course, a formula. And when’s the best day to learn how to fright other people? Friday the 13th—the most controversial date in the field of horror.

Last April 13, Black Ink facilitated their second Short Horror Story Writing Workshop headed by Miss Melanie Esguerra, the Brand Manager of Black Ink. Coincidentally, there were thirteen participants who join the workshop.

There were series of lectures and activities during the workshop. Miss Esguerra first introduced Librong Itim to the participants as an anthology of horror fiction.

Miss Esguerra then started the lectures on how to write a horror story. She started with the basic parts of a short story: the beginning (first 500 words), the middle (the 1,000 words), and the ending (the last 500 words). To further ratify the first part of the story, she discussed the proper way of characterization—from the character’s basic information to her/his behavior.

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“Who is your character? The Good or Protagonist? The Bad or Antagonist? The Innocent One? The Daredevil? The Crazy Person? The Unknown? Or a combination of two or three of these…?”

Properly introducing the character in the story could help in the progress of the story. The middle part is where all the fear-evoking scenes are established. The most essential elements should be emphasized in the central part—the storyline itself and the ‘horror feel’ of the story. And lastly, Miss Esguerra discussed the final part of a story. The ending could be written in different ways. A writer could provide a definite resolution or could end the story would a cliffhanger.

After the lecture, the participants were asked to draft their own horror stories. All of them discussed the characters, the plot, and the conclusion of the story. Some of them conscientiously followed the horror story paradigm. Some of the stories were really nerve-racking and spine-chilling.

At the end of the workshop, each participant were given a certificate of recognition. They could submit their stories to Black Ink and may continue to scare people—in fiction.

— Stefhanie Ann Yanes

Proof that Black Cat is Not A Bringer of Bad Luck

(A Black Cat Book Review)

by Daryll Hanna Dulay

During Aklat Awards 2017, Ice Habunal won as the Most Favorite Writer and Black Cat is the comic book she created that also won the Most Favorite Comic Book category. Having these knowledge sets my expectation before reading Black Cat.

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The heroine named Catherine was labelled as the black cat for her misfortune. The story became more interesting when she met Remlas en Cantas, a real black cat that can turn himself into a human. For a cat person, this is like your dream put into pages. Some say, women who do not have a boyfriend marry their cats. So reading this manga is like tolerating your fantasies to be with your adorable cat and wishing it can turn itself into a handsome boy.

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In my opinion, I think Black Cat can pass as an archetype of the Japanese manga Kamisama Hajimemashita because of two points. The first one is, mythology and cultural beliefs are present in the story. If Japanese believed in the keeper of the shrine and spiritual practices, in the Philippines, where Ice Habunal came from, there’s a belief of small creature called duwende. They have the ability to bring good fortune or bad fate to people. The second point is the noticeable similarities of the power of the male lead characters. This fact is actually the first thing that reminds me of Kamisama Hajiimemashita. Black Cat has Remlas while Kamisama Hajimemashita has Tomoe which both can turn themselves into an animal. Regarding the characters, it should be noted that despite their similar physical form, their personality are different which means that their approach in the story is dissimilar.

About the concept, I admire Black Cat for incorporating mythology in the story because it gives some sort of originality that it is indeed made by a Filipino to present the Philippine culture. This might bore some, but if you have observed, many manga readers admire Japan because they see the beauty of Japanese culture through their manga. So if we do the same, by using this kind of concept to Filipino made manga, it will or can also capture the attention of the Filipino and foreign readers and they will discover more of the Philippines.

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The mixture of fantasy, comedy, and romance genre along with the excellent illustration pushed the Black Cat to deserve an award. The book has it all—great story line and nicely drawn characters. It is just sad because it came out as a single story. I think it will be great if it will be written as a series with the integration of more characters and mythology. However, I can say that Black Cat really stood out. It can diverge itself when mixed with local and foreign manga because of its uniqueness. No doubt it is a winner.

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Is Love Genderless?

(An Andy is Andrei Manga Review)

by Daryll Hanna Dulay

I never imagined myself reading a book or manga about same sex relationship. I thought everything will be awkward to read. Since I’m reading a Boys’ Love story for the first time, maybe this review will made a good point after all.

Andy is Andrei is a black and white manga published under Black Ink. From the title itself, it obviously reveals that the manga is a gender bender themed story. The story is about Kyle who decided to pursue Andy, a cosplayer that he like and followed on social media. Little did he know, that his new neighbor Andrei is also Andy. The story climaxed when Kyle found out about Andrei’s secret.

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Sweet scenes which were commonly for a boy and a girl were replaced by a girl-looking boy and another boy. I thought everything would make me cringe because I am aware that Andy is a boy. But as I moved towards the end of the story, it is actually good. Maybe the illustration helps. Andrei is illustrated looking like a girl in the manga so as my imagination runs along the story, in my mind, he is a girl in male clothes. Regarding the layout and dialogue balloons, I must say they were properly positioned. This is important because we do not want readers to lose his/her track in reading. What do you expect? It’s Jana Dhel. Everything is neat and the characters looks great too.

Gays and girls might think Kyle was so perfect making them want to say, “I wish there was a real Kyle.” As the story progressed, I bet everyone would fall in love with Kyle. All thanks to the script, dialogue and storyline written by Claudine Erang. She will feed your imagination with your dream boy.

The only con I saw in this manga is the title. Like mentioned, it was like a giveaway of the story line. Though you cannot conclude how they will end up, you will still have the hint of the major plot twist of the story. Overall, it was great to find out how they ended up and what really happened after Andrei was busted and how he was caught. Also, Andrei and Kyle have scenes that I never thought I will enjoy regardless of the fact that they’re both male. Andy is Andrei gave me a fun experience which encouraged me to read more BL genre and even the other works of the author. It is said that this book is her third work in Boys’ Love genre. I think her story is worth searching for.

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Whose Ship is Sailing?

(A Ship Me Not Manga Review)

by Daryll Hanna Dulay

Ship Me Not is a 60 pages Tagalog manga published under Black Ink. It is written by Reira Francisco and illustrated by Jana Dhel. The writer of Fake Job and the illustrator of Andy is Andrei are now joined together to create a romance genre. With this two, they are able to create an exhilarating story to read.

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The story of Ship Me Not is about Martin and his best friend, Jero, who fell in love with the same girl. In the beginning of the story, Martin was about to confess to Jena (the female lead) when Jero suddenly came and ask him to relay his love letter to Jena. The story became more interesting as it goes on when Jena overheard Martin and Jero talking about Jero’s plan of confession. However, the only part Jena heard is Martin saying:

“Gusto ko sanang malaman mo na… May gusto din ako—”

(I want you to know that. I also like—)

As a fujoshi, it hyped our female lead to push the two to be together.

Aside from the exciting storyline, the illustration greatly contributes to the manga. It was drawn magnificently neat and beautiful. The layout is perfect. It prevents the reader from being lost in direction. Great scenes were boldly emphasized by giving it a larger portion of the page. Even the dialogue balloons were perfectly placed near the speakers. As for the characters, the cover page says it all. But am I the only one who loves manga in black and white? If the characters printed in colored (cover page) looks good, you will fall in love more with their appearance in black and white.

Regarding the writing, even the title screams creativity. The title Ship Me Not makes you want to find out why it was titled like that, who was being shipped, or why he/she does not want to be shipped. When you finished the manga, you’ll realize that the title makes sense and it has something to do with the persona of the story. About the dialogues, they were written in simplistic way which is actually good because the story sets in regular days in school, and being written in informal conversation gives it a comfortable and realistic vibe.

Overall, Reira Francisco and Jana Dhel combined is a good one. Their creativity creates a good manga which readers would want to put in their manga collection. Still, I think the plot of the story deserves a series of manga to elongate the story and emphasize the scenes of the three lead characters. From my view, the manga is not just a love story. It is also about being a fujoshi and how women can support the same sex relationship. However, I am not giving away the story. Everyone deserves to discover how the story went. So I am only leaving you a question. Who do you think ended up with whom? Martin and Jena, Jero and Jena, or Martin and Jero?

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Black Ink Has a New Trilogy

Inilabas ang My Grandfather’s Last Wish noong Abril 2014. Isa iyon sa pinakamasayang araw para kay Sita dahil inilabas ang kauna-unahang libro na iginuhit niya sa Komikon. Iyon rin ang kauna-unahang beses na pumunta siya sa Komikon event.

Ang My Grandfather’s Last Wish naman ang kauna-unahang isinulat ni Reira Francisco na sixty pages na hindi Fantasy. Makalipas ang dalawang taon maaaring nagulat o nalito ang ibang nakabasa ng  MGLW dahil nagkaroon ng sequel ang istorya at iyon ay may pamagat na My Grandmother’s Wish List.

Narito ang ilang impormasyon tungkol sa dalawang libro.

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Q and A with Reira Francisco

Q: Saan nagsimula ang concept ng My Grandfather’s Last Wish?

A: Kinuha ko ang concept ng My Grandfather’s Last Wish sa popular fairy tale na Cinderella. Kailangang maghabol ng oras ni Zander sa paghahanap sa kanyang prinsesa (fiancée) bago pa sumapit ang alas dose ng gabi ng kanyang kaarawan kung hindi mawawala lahat ng bagay o pag-aari na dapat ay sa kanya. Kaya kung mapapansin ng mga nakabasa na ng MGLW sa unang bahagi ng kuwento ang hawak na story book ni Mr. Cho na binabasa niya sa apo niyang si Zander ay ang kuwento ni Cinderella. Dito kasi talaga nag-ugat ang lahat ng nangyaring pagsubok sa buhay ni Zander at kung paano niya natagpuan ang kanyang mahirap pero may mabuting kalooban na prinsesa na si Aiko Hotaru.

Q: May sequel ang My Grandfather’s Last Wish na My Grandmother’s Wish List, may karugtong pa ba ito? Maaari mo bang ibahagi ang proseso or steps sa pagbuo ng mga kasunod na kuwento?

A: Opo, may karugtong pa ito. Ang My Godfather’s Death Wish na kailangan nilang abangan! Hmm, hindi tulad ng unang kuwento ng My Grandfather’s Last Wish na binase ko sa fairy tale story, ang My Grandmother’s Wish List ay binase ko naman sa araw-araw na nangyayari sa buhay ng mga estudyante. Na kailangan mag-aral ng mabuti para magkaroon ng magandang kinabukasan. Ang My Godfather’s Death Wish naman ay tungkol sa pamilya at pagmamahal ng magulang sa kanyang anak. Iyong concept ng trilogy ay tungkol sa “wishes” o mga kahilingan na nagpabago sa buhay ng mga happy-go-lucky o spoiled brats na characters na sina Zander, Lanz, at Lavie.

Q: Sino ang mga inspirasyon mo sa pagbuo ng characters at plots ng stories mo?

A: Ang naging inspirasyon ko sa pagbuo ng mga characters lalo na ng mga babaeng characters ko ay ang iba’t ibang “DERE.” Mapapansin ang kakaibang pagkatao o ugali ng tatlong heroine. Sa mahihilig sa anime alam nila ang sinasabi ko. Sa plot naman siguro Japanese culture and tradition like arrange marriage, kendo, yakusa, etc. Pero dahil naman ito sa nasimulan ko na sa MGLW na half Japanese na si Zander na Yutaka ang apelyido. Naiba lang ito pagdating sa My Grandmother’s Wish List dahil sa kaibigan ni Zander na si Lanz na naka-focus ang kuwento.

Q: How was it working with the illustrator?

A: Sobrang saya! Ha-ha! Hindi ako nahirapan sa kanya pero sana hindi siya nahirapan sa akin. Napakasuwerte ko kasi siya ang nag-drawing ng mga kuwento ko.

Q: Kunwari makakausap mo ang mga characters mo may message ka ba sa kanila?

A: Ayaw ko silang makausap gusto ko maging ako sila! Ha-ha. That’s why I’m doing the cosplaying of Sita’s character heroine. Gano’n sila tumatak sa akin just like the manga or anime na minahal ko. Pero kung makakausap ko sila ang sasabihin ko lang, “Puwede bang magpa-picture?”

Q and A with Sita Alvarez

Q: Noong nalaman mo na magiging trilogy ang My Grandfather’s Last Wish may mga paghahanda ka bang ginawa para dito?

A: Hindi ko po sure kung paghahanda iyong tawag dito pero po kasi noong natanggap ko iyong manuscript na My Grandmother’s Wish List, tinatrabaho ko na po iyong An Encounter To Love. Pero habang ginagawa ko po iyon, sobrang excited na din ako na mai-drawing iyong story ni Lanz kaya ginawa ko na agad iyong mga character designs sa MGWL. I think noong ginagawa ko na iyong My Grandmother’s Wish List, mas prepared na ako kasi medyo gamay ko na iyong Manga Studio 5 by that time, pero mabagal pa din ang aking drawing process. Tapos noong sinabi din na magkaka-part three na, hinanda ko na din iyong mga posibleng designs ng magiging leading lady sa pangatlong libro.

Q: Ano-ano ang mga challenges na naranasan mo sa pagbuo ng My Grandmother’s Wish List? Paano at gaano katagal ang proseso ng pagbuo nito kompara sa naunang kuwento?

A: *nervous laughing* Feeling ko ang daming challenges na naranasan ko sa pagbuo ng My Grandmother’s Wish List at hindi lang dito, sa lahat ng manga na na-drawing ko, he-he, mostly internal problem. Madalas umatake iyong art block sa akin, ilang beses pa akong hindi nasa-satisfied sa drawing ko, iyong tipong gusto kong ulitin mula umpisa ma-perfect ko lang, saka iyong mga background sa scenes na hindi ko mai-drawing nang maayos. Iyong pinaka-challenge ko, iyong frustration ko sa sarili ko na wino-workout ko naman but somehow it takes time. *hikbi*

Isang malaking dahilan kung bakit ang bagal ng pag-drawing ko ay iyong proseso. Kung ikokompara sa process ko doon sa My Grandfather’s Last Wish, mas mabilis ang pagkakagawa ko doon, inabot ng three months, iyong sequels, inabot ng lampas six months. Hindi ko alam kung dahil naka-traditional drawing ako sa first project ko unlike sa mga sumunod na naka-digital na talaga ako. Patawad po. But I’m trying my best I swear. *desperate*

Q: Ano ang inspirasyon mo sa pagbuo ng characters sa trilogy? May mga paborito ka bang anime or manga character na naging inspirasyon mo sa pagbuo ng mga characters dito?

A: Iyong inspirasyon ko sa pagde-design ng characters ay base lang din doon sa nababasa ko sa manuscript. Iyong tingin kong babagay sa personality ng characters. Kay Zander, tinulungan ako ng editor namin sa design, may pinakita siyang hairstyle at iyon iyong naging inspirasyon ko para mabuo siya. Kay Aiko, nasa description na nakapusod ang hair niya, at nakalugay naman noong naka-maid uniform. Sila Lavie at Lanz, inspired sila doon sa OC ko dati sa isang maikli at walang kuwentang komiks ko na si “Senpai.” Parang hinati ko iyong hairstyle n’on at dinistribute kina Lavie at Lanz. Hindi ko naman din in-expect na magkaka-sequel iyong dalawa kung alam ko lang binonggahan ko pa sana iyong design nila. Iyong dalawang girls naman, humingi ako ng idea sa writer na si Ms. Reira kung ano iyong nai-imagine niyang hairstyle sa kanila at doon ako kumuha ng inspirasyon para mabuo ang disenyo nila. Hairstyle ang pinakauna kong iniisip sa pag-design ng characters, kasi para sa ‘kin ito iyong pinakamagdadala sa kanila.

Q: Ano ang masasabi mo sa mga characters ng trilogy? At sino sa mga character na iyong ginuhit ang talagang nagustuhan mo at tumatak sa ‘yo?

A: Masasabi ko sa kanila na, “Sila na may love life! Mayaman na sila may love life pa. Ang unfair ng buhay, ah!” Ha-ha-ha, joke lang, love ko silang lahat, masaya ako na nakamit nila ang mga kalagayan nila sa buhay at mapera sila. Iyon talaga, eh, mapera. *bitter*

Feeling ko si Zander ang pinakatumatak sa akin at talagang may soft spot ako sa kanya at kay Aiko, kasi sila ang pinakauna kong nai-drawing for Black Ink. Sila ang parang pinaka-baby ko. Sa kanila nagsimula ang lahat (naks!). Pero pagdating sa pinakapaborito, si Lavie iyon, sa My Grandfather’s Last Wish kasi parang siya iyong naging kontrabida sa buhay si Zander, naging obstacle sa mana niya. Pero kahit na gano’n feeling ko mabait naman si Lavie, at mas may K na patakbuhin iyong business… sorry Zander!

Q: Sa huli at ikatlong bahagi ng trilogy, ang My Godfather’s Death Wish, may mga characters ka ba na ginawa na kakaiba at dapat nilang abangan?

A: Uhm, feeling ko, mas iba itong part three kompara sa first two ng Wish Trilogy. Iyong part one, mala Cinderella type, iyong part two, high school life, itong part three, may mga Yakuza naman, mas matimbang iyong element ng drama, sana mapaiyak ko iyong magbabasa, hehe. Abangan sana nila ang love story ni Lavie. Sana matapos ko na ito at mabasa din ng readers iyong huling part ng Wish Trilogy.

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Free Comic Book? Are you serious?!

So have you asked what Free Comic Book Day (FCBD) is and why is it being done every year?

It started on May 4, 2002 and since then every first Saturday of May is Free Comic Book Day. It is a risky event for several comic book publishers and sellers because they are giving away a lot of books FOR FREE, that readers may or may not appreciate.

There are a few things we need to know as we join the FCBD on Saturday (May 7, 2016). The three main purpose of FCBD are 1) to introduce everyone to the joys of reading comics. 2) to call back former comic book readers. 3) to thank current comic book buyers for their continued support.

Also, it is happening worldwide.

In the Philippines, several bookstores are also joining. Precious Pages Bookstores gave away the FCBD stubs last month along with the first 100 free comic books during the Summer Komikon event. Another batch of stubs were given to random customers at the PPB branches. Part of the promo during the FCBD is to get a 10% discount on every purchase of Black Ink comic book. Another batch of stubs will be sent on Saturday. Just a reminder though, the number of free comic books per branch is limited, so come as early as you can.

This event is currently on its 15th year now and we hope that it lasts.

Tonio Tikbalang Volume Six – The Final Volume?

Two years after the release of the first volume of Tonio Tikbalang, Black Ink announces the release of its “final” volume. This will be the concluding chapter of a six book story arc.

Tonio Tikbalang is a mix of fantasy, comedy, slice of life, action, and adventure. “It is mostly about an enkanto’s life disguised as a human being,” says Jake Vicente, the creator of the said series. It reintroduced the enkantos not as an entity of evil, like what most classic horror portrayed, but as an entity trying to live in their own ways and beliefs that we humans misunderstood.

Every volume is composed of three chapters.

Chapter 1: Hiwaga ng Kasaysayan

Chapter 2: Bigat ng Kamay, Tibay ng Loob

Chapter 3: May Kaibigan Ka

Chapter 4: Itanong mo sa Barbero

Chapter 5: Girl Next Classroom

Chapter 6: Urban Legend

Chapter 7: Gawaing-Bahay

Chapter 8: Ginagawa sa Loob ng Kuwarto

Chapter 9: Albularyo

Chapter 10: Stalker

Chapter 11: Ask First, Accept Later

Chapter 12: Stalk Her

Chapter 13: Part-time Student

Chapter 14: Part-time Bantay

Chapter 15: Part-time Crime Fighter

Chapter 16: Mahika ng mga Enkanto

Chapter 17: Ang Paggamit ng Kantra

Chapter 18: Ang Kapangyarihan ng Kantra

The sixth volume of Tonio Tikbalang is scheduled to be released this month of May 2016 as part of the celebration for Free Comic Book Day, a worldwide event that promotes comics on several bookstores.

The book cover and the first few pages (Preview Room) were already revealed last week. Further information are also provided in the Q and A section of the upcoming book. And another arc might be possible should there be an overwhelming demand from our readers.